The extremely large telescope: Further adventures in feasibility

Thomas A. Sebring, Frank N. Bash, Frank B. Ray, Lawrence W. Ramsey

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Should the astronomical community pursue development of telescopes 10 times larger than the 8 and 10 meter individual and arrayed telescopes currently under development or recently commissioned? The question devolves into two parts: Is construction of such a telescope feasible from an engineering and cost standpoint? Does the scientific benefit justify the probable cost of such development? An Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) has previously been proposed based on the Arecibo type design employed in the recently completed Hobby Eberly Telescope. Analysis of the performance and scientific viability of the ELT shows that it can have an important role in near and mid IR spectroscopy for cosmology providing that stringent image and background performance requirements are met. Further development of engineering design and interaction with the manufacturing community conclusively shows that not only is such a telescope feasible, but that the entire observatory can be constructed for of order $250 million at a site likely to provide optimal optical seeing. It remains an issue for the scientific community to judge whether such capability provides benefits commensurate with the costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)792-800
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1998
EventAdvanced Technology Optical/IR Telescopes VI - Kona, HI, United States
Duration: Mar 23 1998Mar 25 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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